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Mr. Big Drummer, Pat Torpey, Dead at 64

(photo credit: William Hames)
(photo credit: William Hames)

Drummer/percussionist and founding member of Mr. Big, Pat Torpey, died on Wednesday, February 7 at age 64 from complications of Parkinson’s disease, according to a press release issued by the band.

Mr. Big was formed in 1988 by bassist Billy Sheehan, a former member of David Lee Roth’s first post-Van Halen solo band. The group also featured singer Eric Martin and guitar virtuoso Paul Gilbert. Their hits included “Alive and Kicking,” “Just Take My Heart” and the chart-topping acoustic ballad, “To Be With You.” By the mid-’90s, the band’s popularity in the U.S. declined, but they remained a big concert draw in Asia. They split up in 2002, but got back together in 2009, and have played together often in the years since,  putting out three albums since then: 2011’s What If…, 2014’s …The Stories We Could Tell, and Defying Gravity, released in July of 2017. Torpey’s struggles with Parkinson’s prevented him from playing drums on the band’s two most recent albums; he worked with a drum programmer on …The Stories We Could Tell, and Matt Starr from Ace Frehley’s band filled on the tour. Starr played on Defying Gravity, with Torpey credited as a “drum producer.”

As a session musician, Torpey worked with Ted Nugent and the Knack, among others.

A number of musicians paid tribute to him on Twitter, including Kip Winger and Mike Portnoy.

No information about a memorial service has been announced.

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